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Auchmar will stay in public hands, but city still has no clear tenant

Auchmar Mansion will stay in public hands, city councillors say. The future inhabitant of the "Dundurn of the Mountain" will only lease it.

The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry wants it for a museum, park and other amenities

The historic Auchmar Mansion, shown here under construction in a 2013 file photo, will stay in public hands.

Auchmar Mansion will stay in public hands, city councillors say. So the future inhabitant of the "Dundurn of the Mountain" will only lease it.

But the city is taking another six months determining exactly who that will be.

City council's general issues committee decided Wednesday to keep Auchmar a city-owned building. That means whoever uses it will only lease and manage the building. City staff is talking to several prospective lessees.

At the top of the list is the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (RHLI), 13th Battallion, which presented its plans Wednesday. Its founder, Isaac Buchanan, built the Gothic manor house in 1852.

The 13th Battalion Auchmar Trust envisions the following:

  • A Claremont community park.
  • A RHLI heritage museum at Auchmar House.
  • The volunteer saloon.
  • The Gibson Inn and Regimental Chapel.
  • The Old 13th drill shed.
  • The Isaac and Agnes Buchanan Education Centre.
  • The Routh Centre.
  • The Friends of Auchmar Gift Shop and Gazebo.

Councillors loved the idea. "I don't think I've ever felt more excitement about the future of Auchmar," said Coun. Tom Jackson of Ward 6.

But the city will talk with other interested parties over the coming months. It's not clear if Cardus, a Hamilton-based right-wing think tank that was initially interested in buying the property, is one of them.

Located at 88 Fennell Ave. W., Auchmar is a 3.77-hectare site is the former home of Buchanan, a Hamilton merchant and politician.

The city bought Auchmar in 1999, and it's sat empty since 2001.

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